Earlier this week, the Idaho Falls Police Department (IFPD) was alerted that approximately $1,500 worth of life-saving equipment was stolen from firefighters passing through Idaho Falls on their way home to Montana after fighting fires in California. Due to the outpouring of support from community members wanting to help the Park County Rural Fire District 1, the Idaho Falls Fire Department has established a secure fund at Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) for all donations. The deadline for donations is November 23.
“Shortly after the story was shared by the local media, IFFD and IFPD began receiving phone calls and comments on our social media pages from community members wanting to help out and show support for their firefighters,” states Kerry Hammon, Public Information Officer for the Idaho Falls Fire Department.
In addition to community members wanting to help out, two local restaurants – Buffalo Wild Wings (Idaho Falls) and Pachanga’s Mexican Restaurant – formed a partnership after sharing a desire to cover the cost of the stolen equipment.
“Although we were told that their insurance company will most likely cover the cost, we wanted to demonstrate to those firefighters that this incident is in no way a reflection of who we are as a community and that we are very supportive of first responders,” states Martie Jaramillo, General Manager of Buffalo Wild Wings (Idaho Falls).
Jessica Clements, Public Information Officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department states, “We live in a very generous community and are aware that some individuals who have created accounts through online crowdfunding platforms to assist with the fundraising efforts. Unfortunately, we are also aware that there are individuals who may take advantage of the situation by creating false accounts with ill intent for the funds. It can be difficult to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate accounts.”
To ensure that the funds are secure and end up in the hands of the intended recipient, IFFD and IFPD are encouraging community members, as well as those who have created legitimate online crowdfunding accounts, to deposit donations in the Park County Rural Fire District, Livingston, Montana Fund at any ICCU location in Idaho Falls.
“As IFFD has plans in place to deliver the funds, we are requesting that all donations be received by Saturday, November 23,” adds Hammon.
The Idaho Falls Police Department is continuing to investigating this incident as a vehicle burglary. Idaho Falls/Bonneville County Crime Stoppers has offered a $500 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible. Anyone with information is asked to please contact Crime Stoppers at (208)522-1983 or ifcrime.org to be eligible for the reward. You are able to give information anonymously and still be eligible for the reward.